What we make of our own potential is entirely up to us as humans. Somebody else cannot determine that for us. The world of Gattaca is where genetic engineering becomes normal and natural births are considered abnormal. People’s resume becomes their genes, which creates an unfair advantages to those with superior genes to others, which means they have almost no defects such as vision impairment, hearing impairment and no general health problems. Those people are labelled valids and those with defects such as vision, hearing or general health impairment are labelled in-valid. We see this through the protagonist Vincent Anton Freeman, Eugene Jerome Morrow and Irene Cassini. Each of them has a different genetic make up which effects, in the world of Gattaca what they can achieve. The idea of perfection in Gattaca shows social discrimination against those who do not meet specific standards set in Gattaca. No matter what genes we have are made up of it should not hide the fact that many people can exceed their potential and become greater and achieve their dreams more than those who practically handed perfection. Gattaca is a society which limits people in aspiring to achieve their dreams. This makes Gattaca a very discriminative society.
They value perfection more than morals, ethics and self-belief. The use of technology to enhance an individual’s capabilities is what rules the society of Gattaca. ‘Ten fingers, ten toes, that’s all that used to matter. Not now. Now, only seconds old, the exact time and cause of my death was already known.’ Parents choose only the very best of themselves for their children, eliminating all defects they have to pass on only the best genes to their children. Companies in this society do not conduct normal interviews where people are judged on their personal qualities and qualifications but are judged solely on urine and blood tests to predict candidate potential. By defining people by their genetic background, it places huge importance of the future of individuals. The dystopian nature in Gattaca shows us how unhappy the people within it actually are. It is about a world that no longer discriminates against one’s gender, sexuality or religion but on genes instead. We see that people are unhappy in the society from both a valid and in valid perspective. At the beginning of the movie we see the in-valids, including Vincent, working as janitors. Then we see the emotionless faces of valids who work in Gattaca walking to work with the men and women wearing grey suits. It almost resembles an army structure, no emotion and everybody doing the same thing. There is no happiness and everybody being limited to what they can achieve. We see this through Vincent. At the beginning of the text he applies to work at Gattaca. Though when it is his turn to be interview he is asked to provide a urine sample, when he is asked this, he turns around and walks out.
This is because Vincent knows that his resume is in his genes and he knows that his genes do not meet the standards of Gattaca. The idea that a person’s resume and potential is found in their genes proven wrong by Vincent. Vincent is discriminated against because of his genetic makeup but overcomes this by sneaking through Gattaca using the genes of Eugene Jerome Morrow. He gets through all tests which Gattaca throws his way. He proves Gattaca theory of genetics wrong. His genetic makeup tells himself and anybody who employs him that he does not have great potential to succeed in life. Even though his uses Eugene’s DNA to get through Gattaca tests and security barriers, he achieves all of hids feat through his own DNA and genetic makeup. Through this Vincent inspired others. He beats his brother Anton at swimming which proves genes are not the only thing that determines someone’s capabilities. ‘The impossible happened. It was the one moments in our lives that my brother was not as strong as he believed, and I was not as weak.’ Vincent’s defects give him the spirit to strive to achieve more than what he was told he can. This is something Eugene and Anton don’t have.
They have been set a standard to what they can achieve in life and didn’t strive to go beyond that. The film teaches us that no matter what life setbacks we are given in life we should at all cost strive to overcome them. Vincent can be seen as a role model to many people. Especially those who have been told they cannot achieve their dreams for whatever reason. Vincent reminds us all what it really means to rise against all odds and become successful. And most importantly to never let anybody tell you what you can do with your life. Only you, yourself can be the judge of that.